Choosing Your Clients Carefully & Spotting Client Red Flags

how to choose the right clients and spot client red flags

Finding the right clients to work with, in which the relationship will be mutually beneficial to both of you, isn’t easy. And often, it requires experience to know how to spot the right clients early on, rather than finding out at the wrong time later.

The good news? There’s a way to identify clients that’ll make a good fit: treat prospects with the same energy you would when hiring someone.

When you meet a prospect with the hopes of doing business together, remember that you’re evaluating them as much as they’re evaluating you. Think more in terms of opening a relationship and less like closing a sale.

Clients It’s Ok to Work With

So how can you choose your clients carefully now to avoid the headache of dealing with a bad client later on? First, let’s talk about the clients it’s ok to work with.

  • Clients who ask questions. Repeated questions, “dumb” questions, they all exist to clarify. If they keep asking, find new ways to explain or answer them.
  • Rookies. They’re not quite sure why they need you, but that’s your job to explain to them and help them see the value of hiring you!
  • Clients who talk about money or pricing. They are assessing your value. It can be nerve-racking, but this is always a good sign.
  • Stoic or serious personalities. They can be more challenging to work with, but remember, they’re not talking to you to be friends. Cordial and succinct is not an issue.

Provided none of these things impede your ability to work together, all of these clients are generally ok to work with. However, there are other clients who you might want to consider doing a hard pass on.

Client’s You’ll Want to Pass On & Client Red Flags to Look Out For

It’s true, not everyone is an obvious jerk. So how can you identify prospects with potential versus those who will be problematic?

Here are a few client red flags to watch out for when you’re courting a new prospect:

  • “I’ve been burned by someone like you—you guys are all alike.” This statement is usually an attempt to subvert your expertise and disrupt the power dynamic. The MOMENT you sense this, move on. Proving them wrong is time-consuming and a terrible place to start. Sharing that they’ve been frustrated with other providers is ok, but automatically lumping you in with them is a fast track to a bad relationship.
  • They don’t respect your time or honor commitments. We’ve all been late or missed appointments. It happens. When you’re prospecting and your prospect blows you off or shows up late, even with a valid reason, Strike 1. If they take days to respond to your emails or phone calls, Strike 2.

Again, this can happen occasionally and it may not be purposeful. If it’s done as a power grab, that’s an obvious Strike 3. If it’s done because they’re poor time managers or are drama magnets, the outcome for you is exactly the same. Pay attention to how someone values YOUR time. That’s one of the earliest indicators of a good or bad relationship.

  • They tell you that they know more about your business than you do. This is a very common tactic to get you to devalue your work. The subtext of “I know how much this should cost, so you better give me a fair price”. Again, this is tricky. Is this the foundation upon which you want to build your relationship with them? It’s a strange thing for someone to try to minimize your career in the name of saving money.

If your business is based on clients who you work with closely and regularly, do yourself a favor and choose them carefully. Questions and challenges will always come up. It’s a part of life. Find the clients who are willing to grow and learn with you through this journey!

Need help finding your ideal clients? Schedule a strategy session with us at GoBeyond SEO to learn more about how you can find the right clients for your business!

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Kristy is an Assistant & Coordinator of Awesome. She has worked extensively in academic administration and brings a varied wealth of knowledge. As a self-starter, she is ready to take on news projects and see them through to completion. Always curious, Kristy is an avid researcher and delights in the challenge of learning new skills.

When Kristy isn’t organizing or researching something, you can find her listening to a true crime podcast, re-watching How I Met Your Mother or The Big Bang Theory and coming up with some crazy shenanigan for her family’s next adventure.

5 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT KRISTY

  1. Kristy prefers the Harry Potter books over the movies. Her favorite book is The Prisoner of Azkaban and her favorite character is Luna Lovegood. Ravenclaw house. She just started her 8-year-old son on listening to the books.
  2. Kristy has a nail technician license, esthetician license, medical assisting certification, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree. She didn’t get her full cosmetology license because she can barely do her own hair, she shouldn’t be trusted with someone else’s.
  3. She doesn’t know how to gamble but is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada. She moved to Colorado three months before her 21st birthday.
  4. Her high school graduating class consisted of only 20 people.
  5. Kristy loves gift giving. One of her great joys in life is finding the “perfect” gift.
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